10 Must-Know Tips for Improving Team Relationships at Work

10 Must-Know Tips for Improving Team Relationships at Work
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 16 December, 2022

Did you know that workplace diversity can immensely affect increases in productivity, performance, and profits? It makes total sense! A team of varied personalities with diverse skills and competencies will achieve far more than a group of individuals sharing similar opinions and attributes. Different perspectives are the catalyst for breakthroughs and discoveries, after all. Except, improving team relationships to achieve impeccable symmetry doesn’t come easily. For some, it can take years before efforts to build rapport with colleagues can come to fruition. And even for others, the pursuit becomes futile until the very end.

What then is the best way to deal with coworkers with different personality types? In an ideal world, everyone would be considerate and respectful enough not to impose their opinions on others or incite unnecessary tension. Unfortunately, in the real world, you have to interact with blissfully narcissistic people who thrive in office politics.

But all hope is not lost. There are tried-and-tested ways to build trusting relationships in the workplace. Take a step back and analyse the dynamics within the team. Start promoting open communication and see where the pain points arise. Next, identify members who find it challenging to resolve conflicts peacefully and maintain a positive working environment. Get on their good side with a battle plan following this guide.

Defining a Good Team Relationship

Remember the spelling of TEAM when you’re trying to pin down what makes an effective connection. Every strong and healthy team should have:

  • Trust - everyone trusts each other to succeed in their roles and provide what is expected from them.
  • Empowerment - everyone is behind one another; you cheer on accomplishments and help each other reach goals.
  • Awareness - everyone owns up to their actions and mistakes; no one passes the blame for a personal mishap.
  • Mutual respect - everyone has high regard for one another; you are honest, inclusive, open, and fair.

The Benefits of Improving Team Relationships

Before you put in the effort to connect with your workmates, learn first why it should be worth your time. From the get-go, you should take on this challenge not for mere personal gain. Sure, it can help you reach targets more efficiently, but that shouldn’t be your sole motivation. Your perspective should be inclusive–this endeavour should also have a positive impact on your team or organisation. Let the following benefits fuel your every move:

  • It improves overall job satisfaction. A happy work environment leads to happy employees. A strong team relationship should entice everyone to get to work with enthusiasm. Who wants to see dreaded faces first thing in the morning?
  • It helps expand your skill set. In symbiotic work relationships, you pass on learnings to one another. You’re not selfish with your talents and proficiencies. On the contrary, you teach your teammates, help them improve, and set them up for success.
  • It allows you to speak up during meetings, presentations, or one-on-one with managers. Your voice is not hampered by a fear of being wrong, sounding naive, or looking ridiculous. Here, your ideas matter and they are always considered.
  • It helps you make the most of your time. Instead of spending time dealing with rude and ineffective teammates, you can keep your day productive and tick off more items on your to-do list.
  • It motivates you to do better. Healthy competition is always part of team dynamics. This helps in producing quality ideas and excellent outputs. Because you see a colleague putting in 100%, you try to match that with another 100%. A win-win for everyone!
  • It promotes innovation. Within a strong team, you’re inspired to become creative and introduce changes that will benefit everyone.
  • It relieves workplace stress. Having someone to talk with in the middle of a challenging day or to unload problems after the week will help you tremendously. Your team becomes the support system that will cheer you on and steer you towards the right direction. The best part? They know exactly what you’re going through. Remember: there’s no I in TEAM.
  • It helps you find your purpose. In a healthy, balanced team, you know your role, how you can succeed in it and what is expected from you. Clearly defined functions and expectations may even lead to lesser resignations.

Effects of a toxic team

Toxicity within a group can affect even the most grounded employees. It disrupts productivity, challenges mental well-being, and leads to burnout. No one wants to work with a toxic teammate who prefers to gossip, spread accusations, and question every decision made. Who wants to be in a group where you can’t trust one another or where you’re trying to put down each other? This is a culture where no one can survive.

How to Build Rapport With Colleagues

If you’re looking for effective ways to build rapport with your teammates, here are some tips to help you break the ice:

1. Don’t stereotype.

While it’s common practice to pigeonhole people according to their personality types, the truth is that people embody a combination of different personality traits. There are varying degrees of being an introvert and an extrovert, just as some narcissists can be reasoned with while others can’t.

Each individual sees things from a viewpoint shaped by their education, exposure, and personal experiences. Being aware of this will help you embrace a more empathetic approach towards resolving conflicts. Stereotyping can lead to erroneous assumptions about one’s intentions and motivations, which could fuel the fire.

2. Walk in their shoes.

It might be challenging to put yourself in their shoes, but empathy and compassion are often more effective than full-on confrontation. There’s always a reason behind every action done or belief stated. Maybe you just need to understand theirs–they might not be good at expressing themselves. If this is the case, probe deeper by asking the right questions rather than jumping to conclusions about their intentions.

3. Treat everyone equally.

It’s also important to give equal treatment to everyone. Don’t be biased or give special treatment to someone. Offer the same amount of time to a younger teammate as you would to a senior or your manager. You want to establish professional relationships with everyone–your juniors, peers, and leaders.

4. Stay proactive.

Lend a hand even if no one asks for it. Sometimes, people are just too shy to ask for help, thinking they will be called ineffective or lazy. But showing your willingness to assist others voluntarily creates a positive impact within your group.

5. Set boundaries.

But, still set boundaries so your colleagues don’t misconstrue your actions or abuse your kindness. Establishing delineations will also help the team navigate action plans and surpass challenges. If roles are clear, the group can be more efficient in achieving goals.

6. Focus on what you have in common.

You might have drastically different approaches to work or live contrasting lifestyles, but there might be something you both agree on or share a mutual interest in. Maybe it’s taste in movies or a love for animals. It might be an affinity for an exotic dish or a compelling novel. Find that common ground and focus on it as the starting point for building rapport.

7. Listen, listen, listen.

A lot of talking happens within teams. People always want to speak their minds and share opinions on many things. Sure, this is a good sign of camaraderie within the group, but taking it to the next level will require more active listening. Don’t counteract words with more words. Often, being heard can do wonders to improve team dynamics.

8. Be grateful.

Saying thank you can do wonders to boost a person’s morale. The same goes for any team that champions gratefulness in its culture. In a high-stress environment where rewards are hard to come by, gratitude can serve as the driving force to energise groups.

9. Compromise when necessary.

Make a stand for your views, but be open to compromises if necessary. You don’t have to be a doormat to get along with your colleagues–you shouldn’t, really. That said, sometimes, you have to make compromises to move things along.

10. Step outside your comfort zone.

It’s easy to stay confined with a small group you’re comfortable interacting with. But if you really want to foster camaraderie with your team, you should be open to stepping outside your comfort zone. Get out there and start doing what makes you nervous.

The relationships you build at work can help you thrive and forward your career–a trustworthy network can do you wonders! But they can also help you in facing challenges outside the professional setting. It’s not always the expected outcome, but these colleagues can also become your lifelong friends, especially if you’ve already established a firm foundation as teammates.

Searching for a company with a strong team culture? #SEEKBetter jobs by updating your JobStreet profile. Learn more about your target positions by exploring careers. And visit the Career Tools page for more tips to help you in your journey as a jobseeker.

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